John Legend & the Roots – Wake Up!|
Reviewed by Sadie O., 11/12/10
Strictly Old School – as in 60’s and 70’s Soul/Funk protest songs. Some classics and some very obscure tracks, covered very much in their original spirit, but not slavish imitations. I feel like a lot of it is a bit over-produced, but the basic music and vibe is generally solid.
No FCCs detected. I like 2, 4, 11, and esp. 8 best.
1. 5:16 ***very long bluesy “whoawhoayeahyeah” intro, goes all funky Blaxploitation after 45 seconds. Features guest rap by Black Thought.
2. 6:27 ****syncopated upbeat funk w/ stuttering guitar, soulful cover of a great ‘69 hit.
3. 4:25 *tinkly harp intro, smooth soul-pop groove, guest vocals by Melanie Fiona, rap by Common. Rather heavy on the strings.
4. 3:16 ****big-ass Funk, energy, positivity, rap by CL Smooth. OK, the generation this was written for didn’t do that well – you kids need to pick up on it, I guess...
5. 1:59 *slow fade in, spoken word feat. Malik Yusef. Fades up into next track.
6. 5:26 **slow, a bit of a jazzy groove, rap by Black Thought.
7. 7:15 ***slow 70’s style orchestral soul funk, tingly bells. I kept expecting Don Cornelius or Isaac Hayes, but Legend’s vocals are quite good.
8. 3:49 *****bloody hell – it’s roots rock Reggae! Really good, too!
9. 5:50 *very slow churchical ballad. Nice vocals, but entirely too smooth for my tastes. Makes me wanna strangle puppies (and I LIKE dogs...)
10. 11:44 **slow fade in to slow drum beat, spoken intro about war. Slow, bluesy tear-jerker about the cost of war – heavy as hell. It’s actually very good, but I don’t want to listen to it ever again...
11. 2:43 ****Nawlins-style boogie piano, upbeat spiritual.
12. 4:44 *very slow keyboard smooth-jazz, sweet.